"My passionate idol activites - Aikatsu! - is about to start!"
Aikatsu is a card collection/rhythm game for the arcades (later two 3DS games) produced by Bandai, with an anime adaptation by Sunrise and TMS Entertainmentnote through their Telecom unit, first season only currently airing. It tells the story of a middle school student called Ichigo Hoshimiya who joins Starlight Academy with her best friend Aoi Kiriya to become an Idol Singer. A second season was confirmed for the series and begins airing October 3, 2013. The second season introduces new idols - Seira Otoshiro, Key Saegusa, Sora Kazesawa, and Maria Himesato - whom attend the rival idol school, Dream Academy. The season also features the new Constellation System, the evolution of the Aikatsu! system.
This series contains examples of:
Absurdly High-Stakes Game: Not really a game, more of a competition. In Episode 51 and Episode 52, Dream Academy and Starlight Academy have a face off concert, with Dream Academy's representative being Seira, and Starlight's representative being Aoi. Aoi and Ran overhear that if Aoi were to lose the face off, Orihime would quit being headmistress of the school.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: All the main idols have their own color theme which shows up on their profiles on the anime's official website: Ichigo's is pink, Aoi's is blue, Ran's is purple, Otome's is yellow, Yurika's is dark green, Sakura's is lime, Kaede's is orange and Mizuki's is red, although most of her outfits are fuchsia. This also applies to their idol aura, basic and premium rare performing outfits, but not their training outfits.
The idols from Dream Academy have scarlet (Seira), light green (Key), indigo (Sora), and apricot (Maria).
Conspicuous CG: The concerts, but it switched to normal animation at times during episode 17 when Ichigo is on the same stage with Mizuki during the latter's concert and episode 25 when Ichigo's dad make it just in time to watch her audition.
Soleil seems to be an expy of MARs. Both groups are trios, the members have a pink, blue, and purple color scheme, the purple themed members have been idols / Prism Stars long before the other two, and the pink and blue themed members are considerably closer to one another.
Evolving Credits: The opening theme goes from "Signalize!" (1-25), to "Diamond Happy" (26-50), to "KIRA☆Power" (51-onwards). The ending theme goes from "Calendar Girl" (1-25), to "Hirari / Hitori / Kirari" (26-43), to "Alice Blue no Kiss" (44), to "Hirari / Hitori / Kirari" again (45-50), to Original Star☆彡" (episode 51-onwards).
The last two symbols in the title "Original Star☆彡" represent a shooting star.
Flashback: Episode 40 showcases Ichigo and Aoi's first meeting.
Imagine Spot: Raichi has one at the beginning of episode 18 where he imagined himself getting chocolate from Aoi and ends up embarrassed.
Japanese Honorifics: Otome addresses the others with “-tan” (e.g. Ichigo-tan, Aoi-tan). Sakura, on the other hand, addresses them with “-sama” (e.g. Ichigo-sama, Aoi-sama). Yurika addresses herself with “Yurika-sama”. Raichi addresses Ichigo as "Nee-san", Aoi as "Aoi-nee-san" and Ran as "Ran-san", which earned him a snark from Ran in episode 47.
Meaningful Name: The members of the initial Power Trio all seem to have their theme color somewhere on their name ("Ichigo" = strawberry, commonly associated with the color pink; "Aoi" = blue; and the "Shi" in Ran's surname means "purple"). Mizuki's name means beautiful moon, alluding to her moon theme. The "Kan" in her surname means god, referencing to her status as a top idol.
The "Oto" in Seira's surname Otoshiro means sound. Key's name means musical key, and may also be from "kikoeru" meaning listen. The "Sae" in her surname means to be skillful, possibly referencing her status as Seira's producer, and "Gusa" means grass, alluding to her green color scheme. Sora's name means sky, alluding to her blue color scheme. Her surname, "Kazesawa", roughly translates to wind swamp, also alluding to her blue color scheme. The "Hime" in Maria's surname means princess.
Meganekko: Yurika when she is not acting like a vampire, Aoi when she teaches the juniors and Key when she appear as a producer.
The Merch: They range from a clothing line, replicas of items shown in the anime and even cakes.
Merchandise-Driven: The anime exists to sell Aikatsu cards and by extension, promoting the arcade game of the same name. As of October 2013, there are sevenExpansion Packs. And there are also other merchandise such as CD singles, these come bundled with Aikatsu cards. Gotta Catch Them All!
Non-Singing Voice: Each of the main girls plus Hikari, Hime and Ringo has two actors - one for speaking, and one for singing, with the singing girls coming from a specially formed unit named STAR☆ANIS. Justified that songs in the first season are lifted straight from the arcade game which appeared earlier. Also, Naoto is voiced by Toshiyuki Toyonaga, but the singing is done by Kenta Harada, the vocalist of Rey.
Officially Shortened Title: A variation: Aikatsu is a shortening of Aidoru Katsudou, yet the phrase appeared as a subtitle for the series' logo.
Power Trio: From Episode 33 to 35, Mizuki holds various auditions to determine two partners to form her own idol unit, Tristar. In Episode 34, Mizuki chooses the newly arrived Kaede to be her first partner, and in Episode 35, chooses Ran is the final member.
Mizuki eventually removes Ran from Tristar, seeing how distressed she is being apart from Ichigo and Aoi. Ran eventually reunites with Ichigo and Aoi, becoming their own unit, Soleil. Because of this, Mizuki spends her time in Episode 38 searching for Tristar's new member, who is eventually revealed to be Yurika.
After the formation of Tristar and Soleil, Otome impulsively starts her own unit with Sakura and Shion, known as Powapowa Puririn.
In season two, Seira, Key, and Sora seem to form a Power Trio, as they were seen in matching performing outfits alongside Soleil.
Actually, Seira, Key, and Sora form a Four Girl Ensemble with another Dream Academy student, Maria.
Press X to Not Die: Comes in two ways in determining success of special appeals: hitting a sequence of buttons in a small amount of time or when the shrinking circle marks is exactly on the buttons shown on the screen.
Rainbow Pimp Gear: This can happen if attempts to make a good coord (a working combination of clothes of different types) fail or players simply use cards with higher score values without regards of compatibility. Even the good coords themselves are not◊ exempt from this.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: On a scale from blue to red: Mizuki, Ran, Yurika, Aoi, Sakura, Kaede, Ichigo, and Otome.
Refusal of the Call: In Episode 41, Shion announces that, in order to focus on her acting career, she will not be joining STAR☆ANIS, a temporary idol unit composed of Soleil, Tristar, and Powapowa Puririn.
Relationship Values: Maxing it out for a character allows the player to use her in the game unless the player has to compete against her.
The Reveal: It's very subtle, but the flashback and final scene on episode 31 reveals that Ringo is Miya, the other half of Masquerade, something which is hinted earlier in episode 17. However, Ichigo only learned this at the end of episode 47.
The Rival: Hikari is this for Ran, at least when it comes to the sensational student audition.